I saw somebody on Twitter the other day castigate all of the climate skeptics - he said if you used a computer, a microwave oven, a phone, a car, electrivity, air conditioning - they were all designed by the same people who tell us global warming is real. How can you use those things and at the same time reject what they are telling you about climate? There are so many thing s wrong with that tirade I almost don't know where to start.
It's an interesting observation. I'm currently looking into the whole Enlightenment thing because I suspect that a lot of what's wrong with today's world can be traced right back to that (which would make "enlightenment" the mother of all Orwellian re-definitions of words!).
Now, one interesting thing is that during the enlightenment, they didn't have the "look at what wonders science has brought us" argument, because there wasn't any technological progress to speak of. The era of "scientific miracles" began with the invention/discovery of a) the petrol engine and b) electricity. Curious!
I recently finished David Stove's "What's Wrong with Benevolence" and I'm waiting for his "On Enlightenment" to find out some more. But a picture starts emerging of a plan to bring us where we are now. I'll probably post more once I have read more and thought more, but it looks something like this to me:
1. Lay the foundation during the Enlightenment by attacking religion, eliminating all classical virtues except "benevolence", bringing in faux-values such as "egality" - in other words: completely screw up people's value systems.
2. This then leads to all kinds of pathological ideas, including socialism/communism.
3. Once the foundation stands, bring in electricity/the petrol engine and all that follows, which makes enlightenment arguments irresistible to this day ("look at what science brought us, therefore materialism/enlightenment/no God/high priests of science!")
4. Also, socialist systems are completely unsustainable and destructive. UNLESS you pump in huge amount of external energy to keep the illusion going. This energy suddenly was available thanks to the petrol engine, electricity and the growth this provided (not to mention imperialism and plunder).
5. End result: we live in a nihilistic, valueless, materialistic nightmare of a society, AND we are hopelessly addicted to the welfare state (we lost self-sufficiency etc.) AND it's just all-round spiritual death.
The more I look into these things (there's so much more), the more I wonder "what are the odds"? It all just played out so "nicely", as if it was designed that way!
Don't know if I'm onto something here, so FWIW.